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36 Reviews
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best consumer telezoom for Pentax
I bought this lens recently to replace an old sigma telezoom and the Tamron 70-300mm Di LD.
This Pentax outperforms both, and even if pricier, I think is a better telephoto.
If you must have "macro" capabilities, then go with Sigma's or Tamron's flavors of the 70-300mm.

I find this lens quite sharp throughout, has great colours (Pentax style) and does...
Published on 24 May 2009 by edumad

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Focus Issues
It's a great versatile lens, but when on full zoom (300mm) it looks as if it's focused, and the focus light comes on with my Pentax K-7, but once photos are downloaded, the subject is slightly out of focus. This is under good lighting conditions. Maybe I need to play with it more, but it looks like this is not ideal for nature photography which is what I got it for. I...
Published on 27 April 2011 by Skyeboat


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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best consumer telezoom for Pentax, 24 May 2009
By 
edumad (Porto, Portugal) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pentax smc DA 55-300mm f/4.0-5.8 ED Lens (Electronics)
I bought this lens recently to replace an old sigma telezoom and the Tamron 70-300mm Di LD.
This Pentax outperforms both, and even if pricier, I think is a better telephoto.
If you must have "macro" capabilities, then go with Sigma's or Tamron's flavors of the 70-300mm.

I find this lens quite sharp throughout, has great colours (Pentax style) and does not show chromatic aberration problems like the Tamron did.

One of the best points in this lens is the focal range. You'll change lenses less often, and miss less shots. Sadly the minimum focusing distance is a bit to long, if they made it 0.5m shorter it would make a big difference for the 55mm end, in my experience.

In terms of design and build, its the same as the kit lens, its fine for this price point. It has the little window in the shade to change the setting on your polariser filter (great idea Pentax!).

The aperture is not super fast (not surprising for a consumer grade lens) but its not that slow either, I find quite good in the field.What is not that great is the noisy autofocus and slowish autofocus. Its not a big issue, but when shooting birds it can disturb them...

All around I'd say its the telezoom to get.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent telephoto lens, 24 Jun 2009
By 
J. Macdonald - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pentax smc DA 55-300mm f/4.0-5.8 ED Lens (Electronics)
I bought this with my Pentax K200D in addition to the standard 18-55mm kit lens. I chose it over the more typical 200mm zoom lens due to the extra reach & a lot of reviews stating this was much better quality than the cheaper Tamron 300mm zoom available. It's also a faster lens than the 200mm, with a max aperture of F5.8 at 300mm, whereas the 200mm lens has the same max aperture at only 200mm.

The lens feels pretty solid to me, the zoom is very smooth & manual focusing is pretty easy when needed. AF is a little noisy but works well, although the manual focus ring rotates which can surprise if you're holding it when it works. Comes with lens hood & decent protective case.

A few days after I got the camera & lens I went to the zoo which was an excellent opportunity to try it out. I got some fantastic shots of the animals, many of them at the max zoom setting. Although it's not the fastest lens I still managed to get some nice de-focused backgrounds & not many shots suffering from camera shake.

Highly recommended. Five stars for excellent performance & quality for the price.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pentax 55-300mm lens, 23 Jan 2010
By 
Channel Highlander (Channel Islands, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pentax smc DA 55-300mm f/4.0-5.8 ED Lens (Electronics)
I bought this for my Pentax K200 camera body and the resulting image quality is extremely good. At its first outing to test it I photographed Sanderling (birds), general landscapes and banger racing on a beach. It was January so the light was low. The results exceeded expectations.

The product itself is compact and light for the focal range and quality of images - ideal for travel. Okay, so you lose a few stops at f4.0-5.8 compared to far more expensive lenses but the trade off is worth it. I have also tried it in very low light and combined with modern digital technology, the resulting images even at f5.8 were more than acceptable. The body is as you would expect at this price point (£237) but looks robust enough for a reasonably careful user and holds well.

Being most experienced in manual focus, and only having purchased a couple of other auto-focus lenses in the past year, I have to say this is the slowest and the focal system did get confused from time-to-time requiring a refocus on a completely different object before returning to the original. Sometimes the targets were difficult so I will forgive this for the moment and see if my technique can improve on this flaw. In saying that, this did mean I missed opportunities. Notwithstanding this, when photographing racing cars on the beach, even at maximum zoom, focus lock on this was very quick and accurate resulting in some cracking images. If you know birds, Sanderling are a bit like very fast wind-up toys, and again, overall the focus was pretty good for undoubtedly a tricky number for the autofocus system to cope with.

This ocassional problem with focus is the only reason I do not give a 5 star rating but on the image quality, portability and price I would heartily recommend this lens. If you want maximum aperture control and are more likely to be static than mobile (eg in a hide), go for a more expensive fixed focal length lens. I have an old second-hand manual focus Tokina prime 300mm lens and the picture quality is tip-top, but I can see it languishing in the bag with the new 55-300mm pentax just being so much more practical. With familiarity I expect to improve on the focus flaws and get the most out of this lens.

I work on the basis that 5 star is absolutely perfect. I would award 4.5 star for this if I could.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pentax zoom lens 55- 300mm, 30 July 2009
By 
Tommo47 (Northants England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pentax smc DA 55-300mm f/4.0-5.8 ED Lens (Electronics)
I bought this lens to give me closer shots of aircraft and wildlife.First outing was at Waddington Air show. It was easy to use ,once I'd got used to the autofocus, and the results were excellent.It is quite heavy on the neck (much more so than the 50-200mm), but that's my only criticism.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent tele-zoom (300mm has some issues), 19 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Pentax smc DA 55-300mm f/4.0-5.8 ED Lens (Electronics)
I own several Pentax primes, and the 17-70mm.

The weighty 17-70mm is an excellent 'standard' zoom: razor-sharp corner to corner from 17-35mm, good at 50mm, then hit and miss at 70mm (mostly miss). In many ways it outperforms my primes with its flat plane of focus (the prime's focus tend to curve markedly closer towards the edges).

The 55-300mm beats or equals the 17-70mm at 55mm, and is way superior at 70mm, from then on its great up to 200mm (it is superior to the 50-200mm here).

At 300mm the edges of the frame are significantly blurred. 200-300mm should be viewed as an 'extended range' if you demand absolute quality, though for centralised subjects where the outer parts of the frame are set back and would therefore be out of focus, this is a minor or even non-issue. For the lens's size and price this is acceptable.

Focus is bang-on at all focal lengths. In late afternoon light focus can hunt, but as always judiciously placing the centre focus point over something contrasty helps.

Edge to edge resolution is excellent mid-zoom, slightly less at zoom extremes; even at 300mm the very centre resolution can be excellent (though is often only 'good'). f7.1 - f8 is the sweet spot for edge to edge sharpness; I regularly use f6.3 on my other lenses, but here its definitely worth stepping to f7.1. I should add I use the K5's 'Extra Sharpness' setting at '-2'; 'extra sharpness' totally turns off noise-reduction (even if you set noise-reduction off when using 'Fine Sharpness' or 'Normal Sharpness', noise-reduction will still be applied); 'extra sharpness' is as close to RAW as you can get with JPEG.

Contrast is excellent, superior to third-party offerings which can be soggy in tone.

Corner frame CA is practically non-existent from 55-100mm, the lens shines in all respects in this range. At 200mm magenta/green corner CA is approx 2 pixels (on a 16MP K5), at 300mm corner CA is approx 3 pixels.

The zoom mechanism is reassuringly tight and accurate, though it could be a tad smoother like the 17-70mm. The lens is compact, solid and relatively lightweight, its proportion fits the K5 perfectly.

At longer focal-lengths hand-held camera stability will be an issue with preferred 200-400ASA settings. Routinely using 1600ASA or above will prove to be disappointing due to loss in sensor resolution. This lens performs well at larger apertures so this helps maintain fast shutter-speeds, as will a bright day! - though mirror lock-up + a tripod is obviously the way to go at long focal lengths.

Included are a lens-hood and a hard-wearing soft pouch.

Something of a bargain, all in all a good package, though at the longer focal-lengths I'm finding (not unexpected) CA and edge softness.
Between 55-200mm this is a top-class lens.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pentax 300mm Lens, 14 Sep 2010
This review is from: Pentax smc DA 55-300mm f/4.0-5.8 ED Lens (Electronics)
Recently purchased this Pentax Lens for my Pentax ist DL2 camera. I am delighted with the results. Wildlife photos are a pleasure to take and good results are obtained without a tripod.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pound for pound the best lens I've ever used, 31 Mar 2012
By 
G. P. Dodds - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pentax smc DA 55-300mm f/4.0-5.8 ED Lens (Electronics)
The 55-300mm lens is an example of Pentax glass at its finest for the price. The sharpness and colour balance are superb. I sell images and find that time after time the results need almost no post processing - Chromatic Aberration basically is non-existant. I previously owned the 50-200mm which (my copy anyway) was far inferior to this lens.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Check image quality is good, 22 Dec 2011
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This review is from: Pentax smc DA 55-300mm f/4.0-5.8 ED Lens (Electronics)
Took some test shots of a newspaper taped to a wall. Camera was on a tripod, exactly square to the newspaper, used timer function and its image quality was pretty poor. Right hand side is blurry until f11. Only good for 6x4 prints. My 25-30 year Tamron ad2 80-210 is sharper and all the way across the image. Returned it to Amazon for a replacement and repeated the tests and all ok.

Recommend buyers check they have a good copy of this lens. Its supposed to be the best around for its price.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good lens, 15 Sep 2010
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This review is from: Pentax smc DA 55-300mm f/4.0-5.8 ED Lens (Electronics)
Having read many tests on this lens and the sigma equivalent, it is clear that the optics are better in the Pentax lens. Depends what you want, better optics or lens with stabiliser (pentax cameras have a stabilser internally anyway), with its silent focusing(true Pentax is noisy). I always, go for the better optics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good zoom range & performs well, 4 May 2012
By 
Steve Davis (W. Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pentax smc DA 55-300mm f/4.0-5.8 ED Lens (Electronics)
I bought this Pentax smc DA 55-300mm f/4.0-5.8 ED lens in order to get better (i.e. larger image) shots of garden birds, than is possible with my 30+ years old Pentax-M f4.5 80-200mm zoom lens.

At £263 the new lens is probably a lot cheaper than the old lens was (in real terms), and weighing in at 460g the new lens is around 80% of the weight of the old lens.

I can't see any difference in picture quality when taking photos using both set to f8 200mm on my K110D camera.

I'm still getting used to the rotary zoom control (rather than the slide zoom) but the lens does shrink to 2/3 length when set to 55mm, which is an advantage.

The only concern I have is the detachable/reversible plastic hood. The plastic "teeth" that lock the hood to the lens look a little delicate.

But all in all, a great lens at a reasonable price.
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